Targeted drug might treat skeletal disorders and cancers
Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Womens Hospital have prolonged the lives of mice with a rare blood disorder by using an experimental drug that blocks signals promoting runaway growth of blood cells. The researchers also tested the drug, PKC412, in a patient with the hard-to-treat disease, called Myeloproliferative Disease (MPD), and saw her symptoms improve.
PKC412, like the spotlight drug Gleevec, is a highly specific "targeted" drug that disables a switch in cancer cells that has become jammed in the "on" position because of a genetic mutation. The glitch allows a continuous stream of signals to prod blood cells into an uncontrolled frenzy of division and growth. The overproduction of white blood cells in MPD damages organs and generally turns into an acute leukemia that can be fatal.
Bill Schaller | EurekAlert!
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